"Today is Tuesday," clean up your sites

The march of time and technology has seen the government add new means of

communicating with the public. But rarely have presidential administrations

seen a new medium develop and been able to adopt and shape its use.

Since the advent of the Mosaic browser in 1993, the World Wide Web has grown

explosively, just in time for a new administration. Policies governing the

use and development of this new medium generally have followed the learning

curve of the policy-makers.

We are about to enter a new governmental period in Web development. No matter

which political party wins in November, the coming year will bring an influx

of individuals replacing leaders whose service has ended.

That influx may bring leaders whose experience regarding the Internet and

Web development was gained in the private sector. Some of the input could

be valuable, but some individuals may need basic guidance.

Either way, the impact on Web site content and presentation could be substantial.

Observing the transition will be interesting.

Preparation can help. Review Web site policies for items such as an updated

budget, purpose or mission statement. Check on security, software acquisition,

staff requirements, training, posting authorization and plans for site development.

Review the site. Note presentation and continuity, update content, repair

broken links, make those changes you've been delaying and give the site

a general cleaning.

Those of you old enough to remember the "Mickey Mouse Club" on television

may recall the intro for each Tuesday. All the Mousekeeters moved about

the clubhouse cleaning the place while singing, "Today is Tuesday, you know

what that means! We're gonna have a special guest! So get out the broom,

and sweep the place clean, and dust off the mat, so the 'welcome' can be

seen."

Some special guests will be arriving. Today is Tuesday for the remainder

of the year.

— Powell is the Agriculture Department's Internet and intranet Webmaster.

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